Tuesday, June 30, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

Popular Motown pop star and video pioneer Michael Jackson also passed away last Thursday -- but I suspect most of you readers know that already.

The one sentence said about his death so far that I most agree with came from one of my cousins' daughters: "Oh MJ.... Hopefully your soul will one day find peace and THANK GOD you are no longer able to hurt anyone else!!"

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R.I.P. Farrah Fawcett

Popular actress and pin-up girl, best known for playing one of the original Angels on the TV show Charlie's Angels, passed away last Thursday.

She will be missed too -- and not just because I used to own one of her posters.

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R.I.P. Ed McMahon

Ed McMahon, former announcer and sidekick to popular American talk show host Johnny Carson, passed away last week. He will be missed.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Movie Song of the Week: “One Hand, One Heart”

One of my favorite wedding songs from one of my favorite movies, 1961's West Side Story.

I hope you like it.

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Movie Quote of the Week

Mortgage, baby. Mortgage.
--Catherine Zeta-Jones, No Reservations (2007)

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TV Quote of the Week

I mean look at her, she’s 100% fabrication. She decided what she wanted to be and damn the facts. You don’t get much more American than that.
--Tyron Leitso, Wonderfalls, “Barrel Bear”

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Nonsequential Links V

I really need to post these more often. As usual, my comments are in parentheses.

We all need to send that little guy or gal to his or her room and wake up our inner curious two-year-old -- the one who still thinks beetles and dandelions are pretty cool. (What Lynn said.)

I do have a Facebook page, but I'm kind of afraid of Facebook. I get e-mail notification about comments and messages, but I generally avoid going to the site itself because it's very chaotic and overwhelming. I'll go there to add friends when the requests start piling up, and then I mostly squint at it then flee.

Here's a tip: Do not try to understand what is going on during the credit sequence. Think of it as the screwball equivalent of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or The Sound and the Fury. You don't understand the openings of those novels until you have read to the end, and you won't understand the opening of Palm Beach Story until the final five minutes. (I actually tried to ignore the Siren's advice and got nowhere.)

The first principle of economics is: there's not enough of what we want for everybody. (The first principle of politics is to assure the electorate you can fix this.)

Despite the occasional spittle I see flung by ignorants, it’s not as if our libraries are lavishly funded, or that the people working in them have nothing to do —- libraries and librarians are used to making do with relatively little. But there’s a point at which “little” becomes “simply not enough,” and I would expect that getting one’s budget halved will get them there pretty efficiently.

Limited to information on Iran from English-speaking opponents of the regime, both groups of Iran experts got a very misleading vision of where the revolution was heading — because the Iranian revolution was not brought about by the people who spoke English. It was made by merchants in city bazaars, by rural peasants, by the clergy —- people Americans didn’t speak to because they couldn’t. (Shades of The Ugly American, an old book which warned against this very thing. It would be nice to think that we're a lot smarter now about Iran than we were in the late 1970s -- but I'm not betting the rent money on it.)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

That's Funny. She Doesn't Look Latina: Parte III

Raquel Welch (1940 - ), born in Chicago as Jo Raquel Tejada, the daughter of a Bolivian father and an Irish-American mother.

Of course after her appearances in the TV series American Family and the 2001 movie Tortilla Soup, her Hispanic identity is no longer that big a secret but still...

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ten Movies Not to Rent for Father's Day

1. A History of Violence (2005)
2. Chinatown (1974)
3. Frailty (2001)
4. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
5. The Lion in Winter (1968)
6. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
7. The Shining (1980)
8. The Stepfather (1987)
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
10. Trust (1990)

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Movie Song of the Week: “Sunrise Sunset”

My late father was never much of a movie musical fan nor, of course, was he Jewish. However, I'd like to think he'd appreciate the sentiments of this song from 1971's Fiddler on the Roof. If nothing else, it reminds me of my sister's wedding which took place in late May over two decades ago. For that matter, it reminds me of a first cousin's wedding I once attended and indeed, from a certain angle, the bride shown in this clip almost looks like the cousin in question. Curiouser and curiouser.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy it.

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Movie Quote of the Week

I want my father back, you son of a bitch.
--Manny Patakin, The Princess Bride (1987)

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TV Quote of the Week

You'd be surprised what a father would do for his daughter.
--Jack Coleman, Heroes, “Cautionary Tales”

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Scribble, Scribble, Mr. Kruger

I made the mistake of not updating some old computer files upon which I had saved some old short stories long ago so now I've been having to transcribe the stories onto my current computer from the various hard copies I had printed out. I'm not quite done yet but the pile of untranscribed stories is much smaller than it used to be.

Just another reason to be careful about that darn playback drift.

And in case you've been wondering why I haven't been doing more blogging online, well, now you know why. Or at least you know one of the reasons why...

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

All the New Movies That I Have Seen

1. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008).

Actually the most surprising part about this movie was how much they tried to downplay the potential offensiveness of its premise. In fact, it was pretty amusing to see the various ways the writers attempted to pander to both Anglo and Hispanic movie goers. On one hand, you had the fact that the entire movie revolved around a white dog who gets kidnapped by brown-skinned Latins (though one villain looked so much like a stereotypical Arab that he appeared to have wandered in from a Delta Force movie). On the other, you have the constant emphasis on the fact that the title character is detached from her ethnic roots to the point of not even being able to communicate in Spanish. I do not believe the resulting movie will be played at too many LULAC meetings but I did not find it to be as offensive as I had feared.

Anyway, I found the sight of Jamie Lee Curtis with gray hair to be more shocking than anything else that actually took place within the movie. Please do not let this be the last film of Ms. Curtis' career because she really does deserve better.

And whoever put Piper Perabo in that atrocious outfit she wore in her first scene in this flick has a lot to answer for. Even if Ms. Perabo’s character is eventually shown to have better taste in men than in clothes.

2. Bolt (2009).

Better than I expected. And I do not usually have a soft spot for dogs. Of course, I felt a bit sorry for the cat. But at least, the writers managed to come up with a reason for the cat’s fate that was both understandable and sympathetic.

3. Coraline (2009).

Better than I suspected. Especially that creepy pseudo-mother that the title character gets involved with. Beware the woman with the shoe-button eyes...

4. The House Bunny (2008).

Anna Faris may be a genuinely funny person but she is not funny enough to make up for this mess. I found one sequence almost too painful to watch. I am usually a sucker for outsiders-vs.-the-insiders storylines but this movie was so bad even that storyline could not save it. Especially since the writers seemed to be more creative at coming up with ways to humiliate supposedly sympathetic characters than anything else.

5. Up (2009).

Pixar does it again. (Yawn!) Okay, it is not bad. In fact, it is very good. I just wish Pixar had more competition.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

That's Funny. She Doesn't Look Latina: Parte II

Rita Hayworth (1918 - 1987), born in New York City as Margarita Carmen Cansino, the daughter of a Spanish flamenco dancer and a showgirl of Irish and English descent.

She probably seems like an obvious choice to most hardcore film buffs but there was actually a time in the late 1980s when she didn't seem so obvious. Back then I had written a story about one of my Mexican-American aunts for a night school course and because said aunt had once been compared to a movie star, I was tempted to compare her to Rita Hayworth, only to change my mind because I did not consider Ms. Hayworth to be a Hispanic actress.

Heh. Irony.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Movie Song of the Week: “From Niagara Falls to Reno”

It's June -- the traditional start of the wedding season.

And how better to pay tribute to the month than with this song from 1931's Peach-O-Reno, featuring the comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey and their favorite gal pal Dorothy Lee? The song may be a little dated but the sentiment unfortunately seems all too relevant for some people I know.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Trailer of the Week: Fly Away Baby (1937)

Because apparently I can't get enough Glenda Farrell.

And I'm a sucker for stories about hot-shot newspaperwomen.

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Movie Quote of the Week

It ain’t what people is, it’s what other people thinks about ‘em.
--Ginger Rogers, The Primrose Path (1940)

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TV Quote of the Week

Oh, Andy, don’t be silly. Do you think the world’s going to end on your shift?
--Eve Myles, Torchwood, “End of Days”

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When It Rains, I Pos -- Oops!

I was going to post something earlier today but we were still having a heck of a thunderstorm here in Dallas and it looked like the electricity was going to go out any second.

Yet when I went out around two o'clock, the sun was already out and the sky was actually blue. Still there were enough traffic lights that were either blinking or out altogether that one could tell something major happened.

I don't know if it's going to storm again tonight but it wouldn't surprise me.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hey, I Remember This Show: The Green Hornet

I just saw The Spirit this week and I'm still trying to get over what Frank Miller -- a writer/artist I once liked -- did to Will Eisner's creation. So I might as well post something that will get that out of my mind.

And what better than this intro to a classic TV show which actually manages to do its version of another medium's character justice?

The narration is done by William Dozier -- and yes, he's the same guy who did the narration for the Adam West version of Batman. What can I say? The guy obviously has a very distinctive voice.

Somehow I don't remember the few episodes I've seen of this show quite living up to that intro but they weren't all that bad. And anyway, that intro is a hard act to follow, don't you think?

At least it makes you really want to see this TV show. Too bad it's not on DVD.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Déjà Lu

I recently found this excellent article via the Dan Simmons site. Of course, the whole article is worth reading but there's a sentence at the end that seems especially apt.

I wonder why the sentiment expressed by that sentence seems so familiar.

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The Best Way to Induce Paranoia on the Internet?

Write a post like this.

Of course, no one arrogant enough to create the type of blog described in that post is likely to be modest enough to recognize himself or herself in that description, but still...

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Questions I'll Probably Never Get Answered

1. What in the world is a semicousin?

2. What is the difference between a strawberry blonde and a redhead?

3. Is a Cajun Queen simply the Louisiana equivalent of a Southern belle or is it more derogatory?

4. Where in the world is Suffragette City? And why can't I find it on Goggle Earth?

5. Why would anyone want to go chasing waterfalls when they don't go anywhere?

6. Does anyone really care that much about the difference between Hispanic and Latino?

7. Who would ever name a child of theirs Carmen San Diego?

8. How did Indiana Jones get on board that submarine?

9. If all you need is love, why do they charge so much for Beatles records?

10. Do you know who wrote the Book of Love and do you have faith in God above?

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

CD of the Week

I'm so glad that the 1976 Public Theatre Revival of The Threepenny Opera is finally available on CD. Of course, it's still almost impossible to buy if you don't shop online and even the usual online sites don't carry it. (Amazon.com, however, does have it on MP3.)

The play stars Raul Julia as Mac the Knife (yes, the same gent who inspired the song of the same title), Ellen Greene as Pirate Jenny, Caroline Kava as Polly Peachum and Blair Brown as Lucy Brown. The play is set in Victorian London but this version uses less euphemisms than the more well-known 1954 Broadway version. And if you ever have the opportunity to compare, for example, this CD's version of "Barbara Song" to the 1954 version, you'd understand why that's a good thing.

I used to listen to this record in college but it's been unavailable in any form save vinyl for so long that I was beginning to think that it would never be available on CD.

Gracias a Dios that I was proved wrong about that.

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That's Funny. She Doesn't Look Latina: Parte I

The late Anita Page (1910 - 2008), a blue-eyed blonde who is most famous today for starring in the Oscar-winning movie The Broadway Melody. Her birth name was Anita Evelyn Pomares and her father's family came from El Salvador. Back in 1929, she received more fan letters than anyone save Greta Garbo.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Movie Quote of the Week

When this is all over, I'm goin' to write a book; make myself more famous than I already am.
--David Carradine, The Long Riders (1980)

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TV Quote of the Week

I've got to get a girlfriend, just for the summer, until this wears off. She'll be a summery girl. She'll have hair. She'll have summery friends who know how to be outside. She'll play tennis and wear dresses and have bare feet, and in the autumn, I'll ditch her, because she's my summer girl!
--Dylan Moran, Black Books, “Fever”

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

R.I.P. David Carradine

David Carradine, former star of the TV series Kung Fu, has passed away at 72.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Prima Power

My paternal cousins in Detroit are on a mission to get our entire family on Facebook. And indeed, it's surprising how many of my extended family are already on that site.

Of course, considering how large most Mexican-American families were in my father's generation, I should not find this surprising. As my mother once joked, when my siblings and I were born in the early 1960s, four children was considered a small family. By the time we hit high school in the 1970s, four children was considered a large family.

When my paternal relatives had a picture taken at a female cousin's wedding, so many people were in attendance from the bride's side of the family that the photographer had to use the same two-camera system most photographers use to photograph high school graduation ceremonies. (And that was just the relatives who managed to show up.)

Anyway, I suspect my cousins are on a mission to take over Facebook.

And what will they do tomorrow night?

Why, the same thing they do every night...

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